Wellbeing Programmes

Living Well With Bipolar Disorder Programme

What is our Living Well With Bipolar Disorder Programme?

Living Well With Bipolar Disorder is an information and support programme, designed for people with a diagnosis of bipolar disorder. Educational in nature, the aim of the programme is to provide you with opportunities to understand and manage bipolar disorder effectively, equipping you with the knowledge and tools to live well.

Our programme is delivered over the course of eight weeks by an experienced mental health professional. The weekly 90 minute sessions (except week seven, which is a 120 minute session) are workshop style to offer a participative learning environment. The workshops provide an opportunity for discussion but at no stage are you asked to share information if you do not wish to.

Our programme is available online and in-person locations around the country, a number of times each year. You can choose the option that best suits you, and your own circumstances.

For the virtual programme, we ask all participants to turn on and leave their cameras on for the duration of the programme. Thank you. 

Programme registration is now close. Register your interest for our next phase below.

Register your interest

Play Video

This webinar gives an overview of what you can expect from the Living Well With Bipolar Disorder Programme and includes the experience of two previous participants.

During our programme you will:

  • Increase your understanding of bipolar disorder
  • Explore the causes and course of bipolar disorder
  • Prioritise getting and using support
  • Develop strategies to manage bipolar disorder effectively
  • Prepare strategies to cope with setbacks
  • Consider the benefits of embracing acceptance
  • Deepen your understanding of the impact of bipolar disorder as an individual and on the people who support you
  • View yourself as being ‘more than having bipolar disorder’
  • Complete your own Wellness Plan

As part of the programme, we also aim to provide the people who support you with the opportunity to increase their understanding of bipolar disorder and how they can better support you. We will be inviting you to bring a Support Person to Session 7. This will be discussed and prepared for in previous sessions.

Consent

To ensure a duty of care to all participants, we encourage participants to have a signed consent from your GP or psychiatrist to participate in this programme, however it is not mandatory.

Once you have registered, please email this signed consent form to bipolarprogramme@aware.ie.

We also recommend that you inform your GP or psychiatrist that you intend to participate in the follow on bipolar programme Support and Self Care group.

Follow On Bipolar Programme Support and Self Care Group

On completion of the programme, you will be invited (via email) to attend an ongoing Support & Self Care Group for past participants of the Living Well With Bipolar Disorder Programme. This will enable you to continue to avail of peer-to-peer support if you so wish. 

You also have the option of attending the Aware Support & Self Care Groups which are open to any adult experiencing depression, bipolar disorder or related mood conditions.

I feel empowered in myself having participated. It has helped me understand ‘where I’m at’. It gave me hope.

Register for Living Well With Bipolar Disorder

Before signing up, we ask that you are available to attend all eight consecutive weeks of this programme.

There is a refundable booking fee of €30 for this programme (or €10 if you are a student, unemployed, over 65 or hold a medical card). You can request a refund by emailing info@aware.ie upon completion. Alternatively, if you enjoyed the course and are in a position to support Aware, you can leave your booking fee as a donation.  Have a question about the programme, or your booking? Please email bipolarprogramme@aware.ie.

Programme registration is now closed. Register your interest for our next phase below.

Register your interest 

Please note if you are a student, unemployed, over 65, or hold a medical card, you are eligible for reduced refundable booking fee. 

To avail of this discount, please use discount code 20off (enter this code at bottom of booking page).

Not sure which of our programmes are for you? Watch our information session on our Life Skills Programme, Relatives & Friends Programme and Living Well with Bipolar Disorder Programme, designed to help you gain a better understanding of the programmes, prior to signing up.

What to Expect

There are eight modules delivered over the eight sessions and the programme includes the following topics:

Our programme is aimed at individuals, who reside in Ireland, who are experiencing mild to moderate depression, stress and/or anxiety and would like to learn new ways to deal with life’s challenges.

This session focuses on understanding bipolar disorder, looking at facts, bipolar disorder types & symptoms, and the diagnosis of bipolar disorder. The accompanying manual is used to refer to and to capture outputs from tasks/input throughout the programme.

The less we do, the worse we feel, the worse we feel, the less we do. This session focuses on identifying how you currently spend your time and how to make changes, encouraging you to start doing things which can help you feel better.

This module looks at your concerns & fears around bipolar disorder, which is shared and discussed. A short video of the personal stories of two people, with a  bipolar disorder diagnosis, describes their journey, and feedback invited. The introduction of CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) is explained and demonstrated, to help identify how it could be helpful in developing coping skills. Ideas on managing bipolar disorder are also reviewed and examined in the group.

Psychoeducation is explained at this session. Exploring the things a person with bipolar disorder needs to know, and a person who supports a person with bipolar disorder needs to know, is also worked on in groups. The importance of talking is discusses, and also a recap on the CBT model is used to consider how to cope with self-talk. Therapies available are also discussed.

Considering unhelpful self-talk and understanding the importance of noticing how it has/can impact your thought patterns and behaviours. Managing distressing thoughts and keeping safe is highlighted before moving on to tips on enhancing your lifestyle and the importance of routine.

Addressing the impact of poorly managed or untreated bipolar disorder is spoken about during this module. Also challenges you face are identified and discussed, and the importance of preparation and planning, e.g. work conversations etc. The need for a support network is also shared. Preparing for your supporter attending next week concludes the session.

Each participant is asked to invite their supporter to this session. Initially the supporters work together, as a separate group, discussing and sharing their experience and thoughts as a supporter, which is then shared with the whole group, and mutual feedback is invited. The role of a spotter is introduced and discussed. Tips on helpful support and communication skills are shared and the effectiveness of a wellness plan is discussed.

Reflection on the previous week, regarding the supporters having joined the group, is encouraged and shared. A review of the key elements of the programme and what you would like to remember from the programme is posed. The benefit of a wellness plan is revised and a general review of the takeaways from the complete programme is highlighted.

Essential Considerations

Please see below for some essential considerations and frequently asked questions about this programme.

The programme is aimed at individuals, who currently reside in Ireland, who have a diagnosis of bipolar disorder and wish to learn how to understand and manage their bipolar disorder.

The programme is aimed at individuals, who currently reside in Ireland, who have a diagnosis of bipolar disorder and wish to learn how to understand and manage their bipolar disorder.

To ensure a duty of care to all participants, we encourage participants to have a signed consent from your GP or psychiatrist to participate in this programme, however this is not mandatory. Once you have registered, please email your signed consent form to bipolarprogramme@aware.ie. We also recommend that you inform your GP or psychiatrist that you intend to participate in the follow on bipolar programme Support and Self Care group.

Yes, this programme is suitable for anyone with a diagnosis of bipolar disorder who would like to understand more about the condition, how it impacts you and new ways to manage and live well with bipolar disorder.

Yes, this programme is suitable for anyone with a diagnosis of bipolar disorder who would like to understand more about the condition, how it impacts you and new ways to manage and live well with bipolar disorder.

You do not have to attend the follow-on bipolar programme Support and Self Care Group but we strongly encourage you to consider attending to give you an opportunity to reflect on the programme and give and receive support as you further explore or implement the learnings.

Yes, only individuals aged 18 years and over may take part in Aware’s Living Well With Bipolar Disorder Programme.

90 minute sessions each week for eight consecutive weeks.

The only exception is week seven, that week the session is 120 minutes.

Nobody will be obliged to share personal information or experiences.

I'm finding it easier to open up about my anxieties and fears more now.

About This Programme

Aware was founded in 1985 by Dr Patrick McKeon, Consultant Psychiatrist, former Director of St Patrick’s Mental Health Services and renowned expert in the area of bipolar disorder. Dr McKeon created Aware in response to the clear need for information, understanding and support – both for individuals who have a diagnosis of depression or bipolar disorder, as well as family members supporting a loved one.

Building on the original aims of Dr McKeon, our Living Well With Bipolar Disorder Programme was developed in 2021 to provide support for people who experience bipolar disorder and those who support them with opportunities to understand and manage the condition effectively. The source material and final clinical oversight of the programme was provided by Dr Declan Lyons, Consultant Psychiatrist and member of the Board of Directors and Clinical Committee at Aware.

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